February 18, 2013

"The community feels that this art was given to us, for free, and it's now been taken away to be sold for huge profit. I'm very angry about the Banksy going - we want our Banksy back!"

"The street art was stencilled onto the side of a Poundland shop in Wood Green in 2012 but disappeared last week." The chunk of wall has now been removed and is up for auction where it's expected to sell for over half a million dollars.
Poundland say they are not behind the removal of the artwork, which was behind a protective perspex screen when it was taken. A spokesman said: 'We're not responsible for either selling or removing the Banksy mural. We're currently investigating.'

A Met Police spokesman said the removal has not been reported as a crime.
There's a legal and a moral issue here. I assume that it was a crime to put the art on the wall and that whoever owns the wall owns the graffiti and can sell it. If these works are worth so much money and it was my wall, I'd want to have it removed before somebody stole it or damaged it. You'd think other graffiti artists would be tempted to paint over it.

But if removing these things is frowned upon by the very people who love it and imbue it with value, then it's not worth so much. I could picture the artist seeing this kind of wrangling over the commerce and preservation to be part of the artwork and part of the publicity game around the artwork. No one item is of real value to him. It's about giving things away, and the artwork itself depicts a child engaged in slave labor. It's all about the art. The people's emotional attachment to it and their despair as they lose it are all part of the art.

Or so I presume. Sorry, I haven't really been following the Banksy thing. It's the sort of thing I would normally be interested in, but somehow I've averted my eyes from this character. Here's his Wikipedia page if you need to catch up on him or correct me on my mispresumptions.

44 comments:

Henry said...

This reminds me of this.

edutcher said...

Hmmmm,

If he put it on a wall, then whoever owns the wall can do what they want with it.

Chip Ahoy said...

They want their Banksy back? It's a template. Make one.

Here, I'll do it for $5.00. No, I changed my mind, we artist-types do that, $5,000.00 or I can't be arsed you lazy bums, make your template yourself.

Here's how you do it, you draw the picture on a large sheet of butcher paper, cut out the image, surreptitiously tape it to a preselected wall at night and spray paint it, remove from wall and leave unnoticed.

Henry said...

What I didn't realize until reading the Wikipedia article is that Elgin's actions were controversial even at the time:

Following a public debate in Parliament and subsequent exoneration of Elgin's actions, the marbles were purchased by the British government in 1816 and placed on display in the British Museum

traditionalguy said...

The basic complaint is that money buys things that belong to the "Community" for free.

They could outlaw money. Then people would have to work like the Gulag Slaves and experience human community mercy first hand.

The fools actually think redistribution is a one way street done for them by a merciful community.

SteveR said...

This not unlike when someone occupies a house without a proper legal right and or fails to pay rent and people get upset when they get evicted. Private property rights must be more complicated than I think.

Chris said...

Same thing happened to some Banksy art at the abandoned Packard plant in Detroit. The full size piece (I remember when this was all tree's) was cut out of the wall and sold off.

Amartel said...

He was once amusing.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4563751.stm
Once. (Admit it, that was funny.)

Now, he poses as a subversive do-gooder (query: is child labor a big problem in the UK? are the adorable tots forced to labor long hours sewing British flags?) while reaping obscene profits for posing as a subversive do-gooder.

MarkW said...

"Or so I presume. Sorry, I haven't really been following the Banksy thing. It's the sort of thing I would normally be interested in, but somehow I've averted my eyes from this character."

Take a couple of hours to watch 'Exit Through the Gift Shop':

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587707/

ricpic said...

Apparently the marxist "community" feels the loss of the marxist propaganda masquerading as art keenly. My question is why both the community and street art are always marxist? The street was not always thus. I wasn't raised to resent. It's as simple as that. Take the children back from the commie thugs and in ONE GENERATION the whole world would change. Simple. Not easy. But simple.

RazorSharpSundries said...

I gave exit through the gift shop a good 45 minutes to an hour and finally gave up. What a load of horseshit.

Cedarford said...

tel said...
He was once amusing.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4563751.stm
Once. (Admit it, that was funny.)


--------------------
What is hilarious is once he smuggled his carved rock in and managed to display it....patrons and staff did not see anything amiss with a Neolithic hunter pushing a grocery cart towards his multi-spear stuck beast prey.

Not for almost three days that Banksy's faux art rock hung with real stone age carvings in the exhibit.

America is not the only nation facing a significant "dumbing- down" due to PC education and lowered expectations not just for those of color perhaps needing the accomodation - but also hittng the whites, Aryan Indians, and East Asians in the same classes.

EMD said...

Should I be feeling schadenfreudey or not?

Chuck said...

"Exit Through the Gift Shop" is one of the great films of the past five years or so.

I regard "Exit" as a kind of a modern "Spinal Tap." A takeoff on the indie/documentary format.

If you get it (either "Exit" or "Spinal Tap"), then we can have a good conversation. If not, I cannot be bothered to waste my time with you.

betamax3000 said...

I thought "Exit Through the Gift Shop" had something to do with the Sexual Assault thread.

Lem said...

I believe this is a kind of debt that the wall owner cannot pay back.

or something.

Michael K said...

Blogger Henry said...

What I didn't realize until reading the Wikipedia article is that Elgin's actions were controversial even at the time:

"Following a public debate in Parliament and subsequent exoneration of Elgin's actions, the marbles were purchased by the British government in 1816 and placed on display in the British Museum"

This followed the destruction of the rest of the Parthenon by shellfire in the Venetian-Turkish war. The present Parthenon has been rebuilt in modern times/ Elgin rescued the marbles from probably destruction. Too bad the pyramids are too big for similar treatment.

Sigivald said...

But if removing these things is frowned upon by the very people who love it and imbue it will value, then it's not worth so much

The complainers might "love it", but they don't imbue it with value - because they're not bidding on it.

Value of an object, art or not, does not come from "thinking it's nice, or useful", so much as being willing to exchange for it, because of that.

The neighborhood people complaining were getting a free ride art display, and now they're annoyed that the property owner took away their free ride.

(In other words, talk is cheap - I don't see them pooling money to buy the thing back, or commissioning Banksy to make another one on a wall they'll control - or even just making a copy themselves from a photo.

Remember, after all, that as a pure art object, rather than as "a Banksy!" it doesn't matter who painted it. The enjoyment of looking at a piece of stencil art doesn't depend, in itself, on the putative authorship.)

virgil xenophon said...

People should read Heather MacDonald's 13 Sept 2011 art in City Journal entitled; "Pathetic Crybaby Graffiti Vandals" here.

lemondog said...

Lots of Banksy on ebay.

21st Century Andy Warhol?

john said...

"The community feels this art was given to us."

I hate feminine verbs.

Skyler said...

That movie about Banksy was hilarious. By the time you get to the end, it's clear that everyone involved is an idiot. Banksy's work is copied by someone who clearly has no talent, and makes a profit from the "art" form he helped create.

To heck with all the vandals. I have as much right to paint over their work as they do. I've half a mind to grab a can of spray paint and cover up some of the trash on the columns of the overpass on my daily commute.

Bryan C said...

"They want their Banksy back? It's a template. Make one."

It'd be awesome if someone created duplicates of his templates and started spraying their own copies. Subversive, even.

Rusty said...

MarkW said...
"Or so I presume. Sorry, I haven't really been following the Banksy thing. It's the sort of thing I would normally be interested in, but somehow I've averted my eyes from this character."

Take a couple of hours to watch 'Exit Through the Gift Shop':

A monumental waste of time.

shorter.
Obsessive compulsive cameraman follows hipster taggers around. Tries to imitate them and fails.

There. I just saved Althouse a couple of hours of tedium.

EMD said...

"The community feels ... "

Great scene from a terrible movie.

gutless said...

Yikes! It seems to be a problem without a just solution. I guess that shoot to kill on sight orders on all graffiti "artists" is the only way to avoid this dilemma.

Ann Althouse said...

"Take a couple of hours to watch 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'"

My point is, something about this person has turned me away from a subject I normally gravitate to.

Since I haven't watched that movie yet, why would I do it now?

My aversion has to do with buying into someone else's publicity game. I got the sense this was a game and I decided not to get played. If I spend 2 hours on it, I'll have been played.

Maybe I'm wrong, but at least I'm keeping my time.

It's like not buying a product you think you might not want. You don't buy it to see if you like it. You just don't want it.

Do. Not. Want.

Ann Althouse said...

I won't even take the time to read the Wikipedia article.

It's like yesterday when I wouldn't even read the Wikipedia article on "Who Moved My Cheese?" I am so put off by this cultural phenomenon that I won't spend my time getting up to speed on this thing I don't like.

Even though I'm writing about this feeling.

Too bad. My blog. My feelings.

Amartel said...

"The community feels this art was given to us."

This line.

"The community." What community? Is it a town or village? Who speaks for the "community"? Is "the community" actually some local tools who have lined up, Ellie Light style, to voice a pre-fabricated opinion complete with photos of cute kids in order to further the myth of the subversive "art terrorist"?

"feels". Of course. "Thinks" would be too much to ask and might result in "realizing this is a stupid thing to feel."

"this art." Right, the thing painted on the wall of the pub by the famous person who we're not sure what he's famous for. aRt.

"was given to us." Free stuff is not free. How many times does this have to be said? Tools are angry because free stuff turns out not to be free. News at 11.

Also, notice they're not angry at Banksy. Reputation as subversive Robin Hood Art Terrorist: intact. All evidence to the contrary.

chrisnavin.com said...

The art feels given to us by the community.

Aridog said...

Chris said...

Same thing happened to some Banksy art at the abandoned Packard plant in Detroit. The full size piece (I remember when this was all tree's) was cut out of the wall and sold off.

No, not quite. There was considerable misleading "news" generated about it, however. The Detroit Packard Plant Banksy is in the possession, and ownership, of the 555 Gallery whose staff removed it from the long ago abandonedPackard Plant.

The Detroit Banksy has been on display at 555 Gallery since late June 2012. The 555 Gallery occupies the renovated old 3rd Police Precinct building and the Executive director is the nephew of a friend of mine, a lawyer who handled the legalities of the new 555 Gallery and the Banksy art ownership.


chrisnavin.com said...

Come and scrawl on the Althouse wall.

It's free, there's art, and it's kind of a community.

Go meta.

And you don't have to hit the gift shop if you don't want to.

lemondog said...

My aversion has to do with buying into someone else's publicity game. I got the sense this was a game...

Something like when a politician opens his/her mouth only with them we are forced into a game.

MarkW said...

My aversion has to do with buying into someone else's publicity game. I got the sense this was a game and I decided not to get played. If I spend 2 hours on it, I'll have been played.

Played in what sense? You're not going to run out and buy a an original Banksy (or an original 'Mr Brainwash'). It's a all a joke -- and a good one. But how much is a intentional put-on and how much is an accident? You watch it and think simultaneously that it *must* all be a mockumentary hoax and also that it can't be since Thierry Guetta (aka 'Mr Brainwash' the Chauncey Gardiner of the street art scene) really did have a hugely successful one-man show.

Aridog said...

Bryan C said...citing Chip Ahoy:

"They want their Banksy back? It's a template. Make one."

It'd be awesome if someone created duplicates of his templates and started spraying their own copies. Subversive, even.

Who is to say they aren't doing this already? Chip Ahoy correctly noted most are stencil templates...all the better to dash in & dash out after applying.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if Banksy had a "factory" like Warhol did. A place where employee "artists" would make the stencils on direction and send them out around the world for more "others" to actually apply them to walls.

A local art expert, Becky Hart of the DIA, nailed it about Banksy stuff:

"The piece is different now that it's not in its original location,"

She referred to the changing meaning as "a patina of narrative."

You don't want my own impression of Banksy, Warhol, Neiman [whose original art I love] et. al., and their "factory" arts equivalent of silk screening tee shirts....but selling for thousands.

Whoops, I let a bit of my disdain bleed through, eh. Seriously, there are hundreds of young artists who actually still have a creative gift and whose work doesn't require proceeds from the Rockefeller Trust to own.

I look for those guys and girls, because I like fresh creativity and because I can't afford the "arrived" rest.

CWJ said...

Great post Aridog.

Funny thing about art factories. Even the greatest artists employed them hundreds of years ago. Students of the master would paint backgrounds and the less demanding parts of the the work. Only then would the Maestro intervene. I would like to think that Leonardo for example painted ALL of the Mona Lisa and in my opinion the superior Lady with Ermine. but I just don't know.

OTOH, some of those students learned a great deal and in some cases surpassed their master. Lippi and Bottecelli for eaxample.

CWJ said...

Oh Aridog,

I got lost in the weeds in the previous post. I also meant to second your preference for supporting local artists.

Kansas City (home of Hallmark) has an amazing art scene if you look for it. A large number of talented individuals after an entire workday of churning our sad-eyed puppies for the greeting card trade are just itching to put their own personal creativity on display.

Sam L. said...

Coulda been a contribution to the wall owner's cause, or bank account.

lemondog said...

I look for those guys and girls, because I like fresh creativity and because I can't afford the "arrived" rest.

Agree.

I prefer the obscure, unknown artist. Bought a couple items from ebay in which little or nothing was available on the artist.

Doc Holliday's Hat said...

Ann, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a great movie and an even better commentary on "Street Art" and publicity. I was immensely frustrated with the movie until the end and then it all made sense and became something immensely enjoyable. Yeah, it is a game...but the movie is still fun if you make it to the end.

rehajm said...

A Banksy showed up on a wall in Boston's Chinatown several months ago. It was there a week before the (other?) taggers got to it. A month later you couldn't tell it was a Banksy.

It's all under a couple coats of battleship gray now.

ampersand said...

Here is a gift of an artist returning to the community what the community has apparently been sharing with him.

tim maguire said...

If people weren't upset that it was removed, then it wouldn't be worth anything and so wouldn't have been removed. The loss to the community is vital to the purpose.

Aridog said...

CWJ said ...

Funny thing about art factories. Even the greatest artists employed them hundreds of years ago.

Not many of them duplicated finished works by copying to silk screen..."
serigraph" to the aficionado...producing 500 duplicates, sometime repeatedly....and selling the "copies" for $5000 and up...sometimes as high as $20,000 each. These redundant works of art are all over eBay, the Internet, Las Vegas boutiques, and various cruise ship shops.

I flat guarantee you that you can find art you like from local artists or even national ones that are still striving to be discovered...every bit as good and for a lot less money...not to mention you've helped another entrepreneur for another day.

I am an old fart and I only buy art that I personally like, that will make me feel good every time I pass it in our home. Price is not the criteria. Myself, I buy what I like, frequently things that remind me of my life's experiences, such as this Wolf forged out of steel with all details forged.

I will soon be adding a print of a hippopotomus colored sketch that just caught my eye, that I like and will enjoy every day.

Art is like wine and cognac...don't listen to the experts too much, listen to your heart.